Up to 15% of AL residents could benefit from preventive care: study

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Ten percent to 15% of assisted living residents are in good health and are “highly likely” to benefit from preventive healthcare, which often doesn't result in benefits until after five or 10 years, according to a newly published study in The Gerontologist.

For the many residents for which the benefit of preventive healthcare is uncertain, however, providers should discuss the risks versus the benefits in the context of the residents' values, according to the authors, who are on faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, and the University of Colorado in Denver.

The preventive healthcare they mentioned included screening for colorectal cancer, breast cancer and asymptomatic abdominal aortic aneurysm as well as efforts to lower blood pressure to improve cardiovascular health.

The researchers reached their conclusions after examining data related to a nationally representative sample of assisted living residents using 2010 data from the National Survey of Residential Care Facilities. A total of 666,700 residents met criteria for inclusion in the study. Based on several indices, 10% to 15% were found to be in good health.

“Older adults in residential care and assisted living (RC/AL) are less healthy than the general elderly population, and some have needs similar to those in nursing homes, making this an important group in which to assess potential overuse or underuse of preventive services,” the authors wrote.

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